Get early prenatal care
Prenatal care (or medical care while you are pregnant) can
greatly improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy
and a healthy baby. It is important to get prenatal care
as soon as you find out that you are pregnant and to keep
all your appointments, even if you feel fine. Regular prenatal
check-ups let you know how your baby is doing and can identify
small problems before they become big ones. See the doctor
or go to the clinic as soon as you think you may be pregnant.
What to Expect
At your first prenatal visit, the doctor will:
- Give you a pregnancy test
- Do a physical exam, a pelvic exam (check your ovaries
and uterus) and collect a pap smear
- Find out your height and weight
- Test your urine
- Draw blood for lab work including tests for HIV, STD
and sickle cell disease. (Your consent is required for
some blood tests including HIV and sickle cell.) To learn
more about STDs during pregnancy visit
and Pregnancy - CDC Fact Sheet.
Your doctor will ask you about:
- Your general health
- What you eat
- Any allergies you may have
- Any medicines, herbs, vitamins and supplements you take
- Your family medical history
- About any previous pregnancies and any complications
you may have had
- How you feel
Most women will have an appointment every month until the
7th month. Then visits are scheduled every two weeks. At
the 9th month, prenatal visits are usually scheduled weekly.
Each time you go back for a prenatal visit your doctor
- Check on you:
- Check your blood pressure
- Check you weight
- Check your urine
- Check for swelling
- Check on your baby:
- Measure your stomach to see how fast your baby is
- Listen to your baby's heartbeat
- Answer your questions and give you information about
how your body is changing, how your baby is growing, and
how to stay healthy.
These visits are a good time for you and the baby's father
to ask questions. Write them down ahead of time so you won't
forget. Pregnancy can be stressful,
and your healthcare team knows this. Be sure to discuss any
concerns you have with them.
Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division
of Medical Assistance (DMA) - Information on Medicaid in
for Pregnant Women (over age 21) and health
insurance for teens and babies
Love Program - a collaborative program between the
N.C. Division of Public Health and Division of Medical
Assistance, providing specially trained nurses and social
workers called Maternity Care Coordinators (MCCs) to assist
pregnant women in obtaining medical care and an array of
services such as transportation, housing, job training
and child care.
Carolina Association of Free Clinics - Information
on free healthcare clinics across the state.
Infants, and Children (WIC) - Provides food to low-income
pregnant, post-partum and breastfeeding women, infants
and children until the age of five. Call your local
county health department or the NC Family Health Resource
Line at 1-800-367-2229 for more information and an application.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women's Health has partnered with text4baby - a free service of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition—to develop a new video for pregnant women and new mothers. The video connects women to medication resources from the FDA and highlights the benefits of signing up for text4baby.
For more health information, search MedlinePlus
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Last updated: August 2014